Letting the air out of my balloon…

Today’s workout went fine: 1 mile of swimming (1800 yards) followed by weights.
Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), incline presses: 10 x 135, 7 x 150, 10 x 140, military presses: 3 sets of 10 x 40, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine. Yoga stretches.

Swim: 500 easy, 5 x 200 on the 4: 3:50, 3:48, 3:46, 3:42, 3:35, 300 of strokes.

Note: I didn’t use the fins today; both lower calf areas/Achilles are just a tiny bit sore. There is no “scrunching” but I don’t want to inflame the area, at all. I wonder if I did too much kicking with fins on Monday.

Weight room note: there was a young woman (very slender) doing unassisted pull ups. She was doing sets of 5-8, I think. That is good to see.

Today, as usual, I swam next to a religion professor who is about 15 years younger than I am. He is very fit (3:15 marathon in September!) but today, I really was faster in the pool ..and by quite a bit.
But…I found out that he ran 15 miles at a good pace last night…I knew there was a reason for the increased speed disparity. :-)

But that got me to thinking about all of the times I’ve had my ego deflated…and not because someone else deliberately put me down or was mean to me.

I remember back in 2000 I was at a hotel. The elliptical trainers were on the back row and the treadmills were in front of those. I noticed there was a woman wearing headphones on one of the elliptical trainers when I got on the treadmill. As I got going I heard …

“Shake is BABY…nice butt!” said in a tone that one uses when one is wearing headphones and one doesn’t realize it is audible.

Well…I just cranked up the pace a little..increased the elevation and my pride started to swell….

Then I looked at the TV: there was a professional athlete on television. :-(

Oh well…

The increased intensity did me some good anyway.

October 9, 2015 Posted by | swimming, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

Flu shot and ..

Yes, I got my flu shot. My left arm aches.

Workout (9 am): weights then 3 miles of running, 10 minutes of cycling.

Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups (strong), rotator cuff
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185 (didn’t push for another rep), 7 x 170, then 10 x 135 incline (very easy)
military presses: 3 sets of 10 x 40 standing.
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 each arm, 10 x 110 machine.

Run: 11:06 mile on the treadmill, followed by 2 miles (16 laps of lane 2) in 17:43 (8:48, 8:45), 10 minutes on the bike.

One retired engineering professor even timed my laps and wondered if I was walking or running (it looks similar).

While I was going, a (staff? faculty?) 30-40 something year old woman was on her phone, talking and not really doing anything. She was on it when I was on the treadmill and still on it when I got off of my bike. I wonder if she bragged about being “in the gym” for X minutes.

Being in the gym doesn’t mean that much (in terms of exercise anyway) unless you are, well, actually working out while you are there.

October 8, 2015 Posted by | running, weight training, workouts | | Leave a comment


I am going to knock it off early. Not much to say, though there is a lot going on.

Workout notes: 500 yards easy, 5 x 100 drill (fins), 100 swim, 250 in 4:30 (steady), 50 back.
Then weights: pull ups (5 sets of 10), rotator cuff
incline: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 6 x 150
bench (dumbbell) 10 x 70
standing presses: 3 sets of 10 x 40 (dumbbells),
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 (each arm), 10 x 110 machine.

I got to work quickly, but later regretted not doing yoga.

Note: I had some “non pain but unsteady” twinges in my right knee.

October 6, 2015 Posted by | swimming, weight training | Leave a comment

Felt good today?

Weird …but when I feel good during a workout, I start to wonder: “what is wrong”? :-)

Swim: 500 warm up, 500 of drill/swim (drill were kicks with fins)
7 x 100 on the 2:05: 1:45, 1:45, 1:45, 1:47, 1:46 1:44, 1:45. 100 cool down (back stroke, with fins).
That was my best set of 100’s in a long, long time, though it isn’t what anyone would call good.

Weights: rotator cuff,
pull ups (strong), 5 sets of 10
incline presses: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 6 x 150
military presses: 3 sets of 10 x 40 standing (dumbbell)
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbells (each arm), 10 x 110 machine.

I felt good walking away.

There is running Twitter joke about #collegekickers with the idea that they are bad. Well, I don’t think that they are bad; they are actually reasonably good. It is just that we’ve gotten used to NFL kickers, and given their longevity (they can last longer than other NFL players), well, only the very best from the very best make it to the NFL. They are extreme outliers.

Smart idiots Yes, I sometimes get tired of discussing things on social media where many are completely unaware of their intellectual limitations, which includes not only being badly misinformed (or underinformed) but also not realizing their own intellectual limitations, especially when the issue at hand involves something technical.

But there are “smart idiots” too: these are people who are smart, have credentials in a given field but think that they know far more about another field..when they don’t:

It’s really quite sad. Kinsley is a very smart guy, who also happens to have given me my big break into journalism by hiring me to write for Slate. But now he’s a prisoner of derp.

I’ve seen this a number of times, mainly in economics, although it happens in other fields (especially climate science) too. Somebody with a reputation for cleverness looks at, say, macroeconomics, and imagines himself smart enough to weigh in — not realizing that there is a technical discipline here, and that he, well, has no idea what he’s talking about.

They are sometimes worse than the ordinary idiots.

You see this during arguments about economics and arguments about science issues:



My scourge every fall:

At times it sure feels this way

This was put out by an actual author


Sure, the social and historical setting of a story matters, and sometimes a story really does have a point. But sometimes it appears to me that people get a bit carried away. But I am not a specialist in this area..but again, it was an author who put this out.

October 2, 2015 Posted by | economics, politics, science, social/political, swimming, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

Intellectual and Emotional Potpourri

Workout notes
First weights (7:10 am):

pull ups: 10, 10, 15, 10, 10 (the set of 15 was tough)
rotator cuff exercises
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170 (good set)
incline press: 10 x 135 (easy at the start, challenging at the end)
military press: 2 of 10 x 40 dumbbell, standing, 10 x 100 (each arm) machine
rows: 2 of 10 x 60 single arm dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

That took about 45 minutes. Then running:
11:06 treadmill mile
track: 17:09 2 mile (lane 2: 8:41/8:28) Not all out, but it wasn’t easy either. Was it really 14 years ago this was my marathon pace?

stationary cycle: 16 minutes (4 miles) to help the knees.

I left the workout feeling pretty good. This took me to 8:45

Other topics
Jerry Coyne: is retiring. I found this post interesting as it describes the life of a research professor. He also gives advice to the next generation of research scientists.

He also has some things to say about the attitude of always trying to keep the students comfortable; evidently the current generation of students are more easily traumatized.

I can say this: yes, when I was their age, we whined about similar things. The difference is that administration (and professors) merely told us to “grow up and quit whining”. I admit that, at times, it is easy to take the “easy way out” and not challenge the students to find the best in themselves.

Capitalism and morality Jonathan Haidt suggests that capitalism has contributed positively to our morality in that we now have the luxury of considering certain moral issues. I think that this fits in well with some of the stuff that Jared Diamond wrote about (society reaching a stage where people have time to think)

But yes, capitalism (especially, lightly regulated capitalism) has its dark side too.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Here are some interesting tidbits about that show. Note: one episode helped someone (correctly) beat an unjust murder charge!

Hillary Clinton when a politician has had a long career, they will make mistakes and change their mind on some issues. Now the Iraq war: I wanted my Senator to vote no, and Senator Durbin did.

But on gay marriage: many of us changed our minds; remember in 2004, both President Bush and Senator Kerry were for civil unions. I came to marriage equality long before then, but there was a time in my early adulthood where I was “anti-gay” just, well, that is what “good people were.” But as I grew up and learned more..I found that my heart was never in it. This became clear to me when I saw some gay men kissing and sitting on each other’s lap; I just couldn’t get upset about it though I felt I was “supposed to”. In fact, I thought “well, they won’t compete for my female date” and that was that. So the gay rights thing switched for me in my early 20’s (1980’s).

Keystone pipeline: I was ambivalent at first; after all, oil has to be transported somehow, and the potential for accidents was always there. Reading the science and engineering articles on it turned me against it, but I needed to see the evidence.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton, while a better politician than Bernie Sanders, isn’t the politician that Bill Clinton was or that Barack Obama is. But she is thoughtful and that sometimes confuses people.

Here is a video of her discussing the problems with a program that gives public money vouchers for private religious schools. Of course, her points flew right over the heads of the dimwitted wingnuts who posted the video, but excellent points they remain.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

What is reality anyway? (in terms of sports)

Workout notes: I was still sore from yesterday’s “too slow” 20 mile walk.
But I figured a swim would help:
500 easy, 5 x (50 drill (fins), 50 free)
ladder: 200, 150, 100, 50, 100 on the “1 min per 50” interval: 3:42, 2:51, 1:53, 0:57, 1:48
100 back, 100 IM

Weights: rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (struggle)
bench press: 3 sets of 10 x 70 dumbbells (ok)
military press: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbells (standing)
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell (each arm), 10 x 200 Hammer machine
yoga: 15 minutes; got headstand easier than before.
poses: warrior II, triangle, pyramid, revolved triangle, reverse warrior (2 sets each side)
up/down dog, bow, then headstand to finish)

Reality I really don’t know how hard to take it out this marathon; my guess that I ought to ignore the clock and just focus on walking easily and quickly. IF I can make it to mile 20 before feeling bad, then I’ll do fine. But it is not 2002 or is it 2009 (my last “good” year for marathons/ultras).

September 28, 2015 Posted by | swimming, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

How did these guys con these women into helping with their bench press?

Ok, some of these are incline presses. And yes, one should keep one’s hips down (and I do).






I admit that I’ve never tried this. One, I did have a fit, leggy female spot me when I did a single with 290 pounds and she did stand right over my face (and I got it). But that was in 1985.

I did get 200 lb. a couple of weeks ago and I can do a set of 4 with bodyweight (185 lbs).

Well, time for a 5K race and a football game (3 pm)

September 26, 2015 Posted by | weight training | | Leave a comment


Well, I had a bad experience in class last night; I got stuck and was too stubborn to move on. Never again.
There was something simple that I did not see. And yes, this material is new to me, though it isn’t mathematically sophisticated.

On the good side: as I walked back from the gym this morning, I saw the most darling baby bunny hiding under one of the plants. It was adorable. But of course, it was hiding as the predators (hawks, foxes) would find it delicious.

Workout notes
swim first: 500 easy, 5 x 50 drill (fins), 50 free (no fins), 6 x 100 on 2:10 (1:48-1:50 each), 100 fly drill, 100 IM. 1800 yards total, or 1 mile
weights: rotator cuff, 5 x 10 pull ups (hard), 10 x 135, 7 x 170 bench, 6 x 150, 10 x 135 incline press, 3 sets of 10 x 40 standing military, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer machine rows.
Then some yoga; got headstand but wasn’t quite as steady as I’d like.


John Boehner is stepping down?

Speaker John A. Boehner, under intense pressure from conservatives in his party, will resign one of the most powerful positions in government and give up his House seat at the end of October, throwing Congress into chaos as it tries to avert a government shutdown.

Mr. Boehner, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, made the announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans on Friday morning.

The Ohio representative struggled from almost the moment he took the speaker’s gavel in 2011 to manage the challenges of divided government and to hold together his fractious and increasingly conservative Republican members.

Evidently, the imbeciles were too much for him to manage.

And front running Donald Trump is boycotting Fox News.

Wow. It seems that our conservatives are in disarray, to say the least. Perhaps the union between the wealthy and the rabid populists is finally starting to end.

And yes, this means that we’ll have another government shutdown.

September 25, 2015 Posted by | political/social, politics, swimming, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Learning to adapt to age, attitudes, etc.

Workout notes: untimed 4 mile Cornstalk classic run, then weights.

Run: untimed. The weather was beautiful; almost as if I ordered it. While in Bradley Park I saw two young women coming my way as I ran down the Dog Park hill. I moved way over (it is a wide road) and they smiled. Then as I turned to go up the hill to upper Bradley Park, I saw them ahead of me. I thought “OMG I am slow; they did 1 mile in the time it took me to do 400 meters? ” Then I realized they didn’t do the full lower loop; they are faster than I am but not THAT much faster. :-)

Then going along Parkside, I saw a fellow gray-hair that I’ve been running “against” since 1997 or so. We greeted each other, and, the difference between us is still about the same (he is maybe 1-2 minutes faster in the 5K…just as he was in 1997). We both have been reduced to “shuffling” during our runs. But we are still out there moving forward…at least I think that I am moving forward; not so sure of that at times. :-)

And yes, the traffic on Columbia Terrace and Parkside has gone up dramatically since the city made Main Street all but impossible to drive during morning rush hour. So that formerly “low traffic quiet neighborhood street” is no longer that. My guess is that the Uplands will no longer be a nice neighborhood in 10-15 years…if it takes that long.

pull ups: 10, 10, 10, 15, 5/5 (change grip) for 55 total. This was my first set of 15 in a long, long time. And these were decent reps…but I had to dig deep to get that set.
rotator cuff
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (hips down!) 7 x 170
incline press: 10 x 135 (tough)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell standing, 9 x 100 (each arm) machine, 1 x 70 to get 10 reps
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell (each arm)
pull down: 2 sets of 10 x 160 traditional, 10 x 150 other machine
yoga (back, headstand)

Dealing with age
When it comes to running, I have to remember that 15 years ago, an “easy” 4 mile run was 32-36 minutes. Now it is 44-48; it takes me 1/3 longer to do the same distance. I have to factor that in when it comes to considering how long to go.

As far as my 5K times; they are now roughly what my 4 mile times used to be, and I remember thinking that the 4 mile was really more similar to a 10K than a 5K. So if I want to do well on the 5K, I will probably have to train the way I did for my old 10Ks.

And forget that nonsense about 5K being “95 percent VO2 max”. That is true for a trained athlete who will finish between 13-18 minutes, but not remotely true for me.

Effort Still, there is a time and place to “go for it”, though those times have to be more spread out. Today, I really wanted to see if I could do 15 pull ups in one set. And I could, but it did cost me; the next set was harder than normal. And I told myself “I have to WANT this”; I often don’t want to push myself.

Discipline I am going to a football game this Saturday and thought about doing a marathon on Sunday “as training”. That would be, well, dumb.
First of all, I know that once I pin a race number on and get with the crowd, I’ll go hard to try to keep contact. I am not rested and tapered either. So, the result would be: bad finish time, and exhaustion, 3 weeks prior to my “goal”.

10-15 years ago…well, I couldn’t really get away with it then either, but now the effect would be greater. I remember my days as a runner: I ran a hot weather 3:55 at Quad Cities 3 weeks prior to my goal at Chicago. At Chicago, I blew up at mile 20 and limped in at 3:46. Walking is easier on the body running, but that was 17 years ago. I recover more slowly now.

So, I’ll do a longish 5+ hour walk at a more relaxed pace; I KNOW that I can finish come race day. I’ve already hit 22 in training. I am aiming to walk that race HARD; aim for 5:30-5:40. And yes, that isn’t my old sub 5 hour (done once, in 2002) or even 5:15 (2009). If I think that my goal race will be easy because my finish time is likely to be slower than my old ones, I am kidding myself. It is still going to be tough, and I had better be ready mentally, emotionally and physically.

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Rages, surges, water, clocks and wasps..

Workout notes: swim, then weights.

Swim: 500 easy (Jason sort of raced me), 5 x (50 drill/free (fins for drill, no fins for free), 5 x 100 on the 2:10 (two in 1:50; rest 1:47-1:49), 2 x 100 IM, side/free

1800 (1 mile) total.

Weights: pull ups (did ok), incline press: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 3 x 150
rotator cuff
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell
bench press: 10 x 70 dumbbell

yoga: 10 minutes worth; did some headstand.

It was ok, given that I was fatigued from yesterday.

The Fed and interest rates: a certain collection of bankers benefit when the rates are raised.

Science: wasps can indirectly alter caterpillar DNA. The interaction is complicated and there are still open questions.

Election 2016: If there is a “Sanders surge”, polls aren’t picking it up. I believe that sometimes people confuse intensity of support for breadth.

Clocks, etc.
In the clock case: no, the kid shouldn’t have been arrested nor suspended. In fact, we should not have ever known about it. But as far as the clock itself: probably not much profound there, other than a kid’s curiosity.

Note: I did similar stuff at that age; I remember disassembling a small radio to try to use its parts in other ways. What I ended up doing is using the earphone jack to power an external speaker…not exactly a huge feat of electrical engineering. :-)

September 21, 2015 Posted by | economics, economy, evolution, political/social, politics, science, social/political, swimming, weight training | | Leave a comment


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